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Showing posts from April 9, 2014

Russia Plotting for Ukrainian Influence, Not Invasion, Analysts Say

MOSCOW — The separatist demonstrations again churning through eastern Ukraine have raised fears of a Crimean-style invasion by the 40,000 Russian troops coiled just over the Russian border. But Moscow’s goals are more subtle than that, focused on a long-range strategy of preventing Ukraine from escaping Russia’s economic and military orbit, according to political analysts, Kremlin allies and diplomats interviewed this week.

Toward that end, the Kremlin has made one central demand, which does not at first glance seem terribly unreasonable. It wants Kiev to adopt a federal system of government giving far more power to the governors across Ukraine.

“A federal structure will ensure that Ukraine will not be anti-Russian,” said Sergei A. Markov, a Russian political strategist who supports the Kremlin.

Russian officials have said they envision a system in which the regions elect their own leaders and protect their own economic, cultural and religious traditions — including the forging of indepe…

Pro-Russian Demonstrators in Eastern Ukraine Urged to Stand Down

DONETSK, Ukraine — Facing threats of forcible eviction by the Ukrainian government, pro-Russian demonstrators who have seized the 11-story government headquarters in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine’s biggest city, suffered a further blow Wednesday when local political barons who share their deep dislike of Ukraine’s new government demanded that they give up and hand over any weapons.

The protesters, however, vowed to stand firm, fortifying barricades erected around the Donetsk regional administration building as a thinning crowd of several hundred supporters chanted “Russia, Russia” and cheered calls for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to protect them.

In Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said at a news conference that demonstrators who have seized buildings in Donetsk and at least two other eastern cities had two options — “political negotiations and force.” He said the crisis would be resolved one way or the other within 48 hours.

Interior Ministry troops have …

Russia Announces Decoupling Trade From Dollar

By Peter Koenig

 - Russia has just dropped another bombshell, announcing not only the de-coupling of its trade from the dollar, but also that its hydrocarbon trade will in the future be carried out in rubles and local currencies of its trading partners – no longer in dollars – see Voice of Russia

Russia’s trade in hydrocarbons amounts to about a trillion dollars per year. Other countries, especially the BRICS and BRCIS-associates (BRICSA) may soon follow suit and join forces with Russia, abandoning the ‘petro-dollar’ as trading unit for oil and gas. This could amount to tens of trillions in loss for demand of petro-dollars per year (US GDP about 17 trillion dollars – December 2013) – leaving an important dent in the US economy would be an understatement.

Added to this is the declaration today by Russia’s Press TV – China will re-open the old Silk Road as a new trading route linking Germany, Russia and China, allowing to connect and develop new markets along the road, especially in Centra…

It's Not Russia That Is Destabilising Ukraine

By Sergei Lavrov

 "The Guardian" - The profound and pervasive crisis in Ukraine is a matter of grave concern for Russia. We understand perfectly well the position of a country which became independent just over 20 years ago and still faces complex tasks in constructing a sovereign state. Among them is the search for a balance of interests among its various regions, the peoples of which have different historical and cultural roots, speak different languages and have different perspectives on their past and present, and their country's future place in the world.

Given these circumstances, the role of external forces should have been to help Ukrainians protect the foundations of civil peace and sustainable development, which are still fragile. Russia has done more than any other country to support the independent Ukrainian state, including for many years subsidising its economy through low energy prices. Last November, at the outset of the current crisis, we supported Kiev&#…